News / Asia

    Source: Suspects in India Teen-hanging Case May Walk Free, for Now

    Indian policemen show two men (L and 2nd R), who are accused of gang raping and hanging two girls, to the media at Budaun district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 30, 2014.
    Indian policemen show two men (L and 2nd R), who are accused of gang raping and hanging two girls, to the media at Budaun district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 30, 2014.
    Reuters

    Indian federal investigators will not oppose applications for bail by five men arrested over the murder of two teenage girls hanged from a tree, a source familiar with the case said, paving the way for the suspects' release.

    The killings in May in India's most populous state shocked the world and stoked political tension between newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state officials over the investigation of the case.

    Initial inquiries had suggested the two cousins, aged 14 and 15, and belonging to a low-caste community, were raped before being hanged from a mango tree, highlighting a breakdown in law and order in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

    The suspects, three brothers and two policemen, are being held in jail in the town of Budaun, 198 km (123 miles) southeast of the capital, New Delhi. They become eligible for bail upon the expiry of a 90-day period for authorities to press charges.

    That deadline passed on Tuesday for one of the suspects, while for the others it falls on Thursday.

    The decision by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to oppose bail follows a forensic report last week that ruled out sexual assault, and another preliminary report by a medical panel that reached a similar conclusion.

    “The CBI won't oppose a bail plea if it comes ... initial reports do not say that they are likely culprits,” the source, who had direct knowledge of the CBI probe but sought anonymity in the absence of authority to disclose details, told Reuters.

    “They have pointed out inconsistencies in the initial post-mortem and have called the doctors and staff for further consultation,” the source added, referring to the medical panel.

    No lawyer has so far been hired by the suspects to post bail. Reached by telephone through a neighbor, the mother of the three brothers who are suspects said she was satisfied with how the investigation was going.

    “We are short of money so we have not talked to lawyers yet,” she said in response to questions relayed by the neighbor. “When money is arranged we will try to get bail.”

    Investigators have not been able to substantiate testimony against the suspects from the girls' relatives. While no charges will be filed at this stage, the suspects have not been declared innocent and the CBI probe will continue, the agency has said.

    In a speech this month, Modi said India was shamed by increasing reports of sexual violence against women and girls.

    The number of rapes reported rose 35.2 percent to 33,707 in 2013, with about a tenth of those reported in Uttar Pradesh, data from the National Crime Records Bureau showed.

    India stiffened its rape laws after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in 2012 sparked street protests nationwide.

    Still, sex crimes against women remain widespread. Females from poor and marginalized communities are often among the victims, activists say, while many such crimes go unreported or are not properly investigated.

    Honor killings?

    Archaic practices such as lynching women accused of witchcraft, honor killings and dowry murders persist in India because they remain socially acceptable, a United Nations official said last year.

    Before the CBI probe, the Uttar Pradesh state police suggested the girls could have been victims of so-called 'honor' killings. A senior state police officer reiterated that stance last week.

    Honor killings, a crime usually seen in rural and conservative parts of India, target individuals considered to have brought dishonor to their families through actions relatives believe have damaged their reputation.

    The victims' families have consistently denied any role in the killings, and say they will personally oppose bail applications by the suspects.

    “Everything is a lie. If the boys are let off, we will fight,” the father of one of the victims told Reuters by telephone. “We can also commit suicide, we can do anything.”    

     

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora